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St. John’s Falls Short in BIG EAST Opener




QUEENS, N.Y. (Dec. 31, 2015) – On New Year’s Eve, in front of 4,633 fans at Carnesecca Arena, St. John’s took a loss to Creighton, 80-70, at the BIG EAST opener. Five out of the nine Red Storm players who played were making their BIG EAST debut.

Freshmen Malik Ellison scored a career-high 17 points, Durand Johnson had 14 points and reached double-figures for the fifth-straight game, Yankuba Sima put up 12 points, and Felix Balamou scored nine points and had five assists in his first start of the season.

The Bluejays opened the game with an early eight-point lead before Johnson gave St. John’s seven-straight points to make it a 15-13 ballgame half way through the first half. Creighton rose by as many as 11 with five minutes to go in the half before the Red Storm scored eight-straight points and cut the deficit to 33-29 at the break.

Senior Geoffrey Groselle of the Bluejays went for a game-high 22 points. Mo Watson Jr. scored 17 points and had eight assists and Cole Huff made 14 points and had 11 rebounds, making it a double-double to  guide Creighton (10-4, 1-0) to its third-straight win. The Bluejays shot 46.4 percent or 26-of-56 from the field, hitting seven 3-pointers, and made 21-of-29 free throws or 72.4 percent.

St. John’s were down by two, 39-37, after Johnson nailed his second 3-pointer with 17:04 left of the second half. Watson Jr. and Isaiah Zierden fired back with 3s as the Bluejays gained an eight-point lead.

The Red Storm were then down by 10 before Johnson made a layup and Ellison made a pair of free throws to make it 56-50. St. John’s were only behind by six with 9:59 to go, but the Bluejays used an 8-0 run to open up a 14-point lead. The Red Storm would get no closer than 10 for the rest of the game.
The Red Storm shot 53.3 percent or 16-of-30 from the field in the second half, but could not overcome the halftime deficit. Groselle scored 16 of his 22 points in the second half and finished 9-for-10 from the field.

St. John’s returns to action on Jan. 2 with a 3:30 p.m. road game against No. 12/13 Providence (FS1).

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